Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reading David Roderick's Blue Colonial, winner of the recent APR/Honickman. What a beautiful cover: the blue on the door is just luscious. Favorite poem: "The Makers of the American Language," which is full of wonderful sounds and rhythms and begins:

Strangers. Saints. Blazers of sphagnum and sap.

Trodden men with the land o'erturned on their crowns.

Oyster-shell plasterers. Shit shovelers.

Seed-sowing hands when the crabapple buds

grew as big as the balls of a bull.

pg. 29


Also reading Jean-Paul Pecqueur's The Case Against Happiness. I didn't realize till I read the liner notes that he had a Seattle connection, having attended UW's MFA program in the past. Fun, playful, intelligent poems throughout (notice the vacuum cleaner instead of a gun in the cowboy's hand on the cover). A couple of my favorite lines:

Asked where I wanted her to place the flowers
I responded that everywhere would be fine.
--from "What We Want When We Want It." pg. 39

Great acting and crying on cue
are not the same thing.
--from "Hollywood West" pg. 14

And the wacky O'Hara-esque poem "Patty Suddenly:"

then suddenly Patty not.
There were engines in the wings
then the noise receded,
drawing with it the racetracks
and hat racks and my Delaware
oh so unaware. I was the not-
for-profit sighing society
fussing about all the central authority
before one day Patty suddenly
then suddenly Patty not.
The day was hot. The year was 1989.
The modern age was sinking
into the parched soil of the Po-Mo world.
Fantastical things were growing.
Glowing breathing tubes for one.
Intolerance for intolerance.
A damned dodgy, doggy-dog world,
for decades, every time I awoke
it was morning — How Boring! —
until suddenly Patty suddenly
then suddenly Patty not!

I don't quite understand exactly what "Patty" is all about. But a line like "Intolerance for intolerance" is enough to keep me interested.


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